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Category archives for Technology

Concert music controlled by audience brainwaves

James Fung, a musician and computer engineer at the University of Toronto, has developed a program that can convert EEG recordings into music. Fung is involved in the Regenerative Brain Wave Music Project, which “explores new physiological interfaces for musical instruments.” As part of the project, he staged a concert in which the music and…

Microsoft wants to read your mind

Researchers from the Microsoft Corporation recently filed an application for a patent for a brain-computer interface that can “classify brain states”. They say that the device is needed to obtain accurate feedback about the effectiveness of computer-user interfaces, because the conventional way of  getting this information – by interview – is often unreliable. To me…

Sticky dopamine

A mussel clinging to a sheet of teflon. (Image credit: Haeshin Lee/ Phillip Messersmith) The marine mollusc Mytilus edulis inhabits ecological niches in the intertidal zone, which is exposed to air during low tide and submerged in water during high tide. Being so turbulent, these niches are inhospitable to many forms of life; the organisms…

Robo-salamander & self-organizing furniture

Scientist and journalist Sunny Bains discusses how Swiss researchers are using central pattern generator (CPG) chips to develop self-organizing furniture. CPGs are networks of spinal neurons that generate the rhythmic patterns of neural activity which control locomotion. I wrote about them earlier this year, in the context of the “robo-salamander” designed and built by Auke…

Researchers from the Biomedical Engineering Laboratory at Keio University in Japan have developed a brain-computer interface that enables users to control the movements of Second Life avatars without moving a muscle. The device consists of a headset containing electrodes which monitor electrical activity in the motor cortex, the region of the brain involved in planning,…

The brain radiator for epileptics

A team of researchers from Yamaguchi University in Japan has submitted a patent application for an implantable brain cooling device that would be used to develop a new treatment for severe cases of epilepsy. Epilepsy is a condition that is characterised by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Many epileptics experience seizures, during which they…

Neuroengineering blog by a pro

Ed Boyden, leader of the Neuroengineering and Neuromedia Group at MIT, has just started a blog. I wrote about some of Boyden’s work earlier this year. His is one of several groups that have used a light-sensitive bacterial protein called channelrhodopsin to develop an “optical switch” that can activate or inhibit neurons.

Craig Venter advocates cognitive enhancement

At Wired, filmmaker Ridley Scott discusses the forthcoming remastered final cut of Blade Runner. This classic 1982 film depicts a dystopian futuristic society based on artificial intelligence and genetic engineering, and was recently voted as the best science fiction film ever made by 60 top scientists.  The interview includes quotes about the film from various…

In this article from Wired, Sharon Weinberger discusses “mind-reading” technology that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security hopes to use to identify terrorists. The DHS is interested in Semantic Stimuli Response Measurements Technology (SSRM TEK), which has been developed at the Psychotechnology Research Institute in Moscow. SSRM Tek is a software package which can, according…

A robot with realistic facial expressions

The Wakeda-Docomo Face robot 2 (WD-2), developed by mechanical engineer Atsuo Takanishi and his colleagues of Waseda University in Japan, can make and switch between various facial expressions, all of which are very realistic. The robot consists of an elastic mask whose morphing is controlled by 17 shafts, each of which is driven by a…